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The effect of bridging networks on entrepreneurial activity: The rational-legal framework and embeddedness in local social capital networks


  • Björn Berggren
  • Lars Silver


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to analyse the role of social capital and bridging networks on entrepreneurial activity in three different regions in Sweden. Design/methodology/approach - The empirical base of the paper comprises 120 in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in three municipalities in Sweden, statistical data from Statistics Sweden and a large postal survey conducted by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprises. Findings - The bridging networks between local civil servants and local politicians on the one hand and entrepreneurs on the other are pivotal for the development of an entrepreneurial community. Research limitations/implications - Despite the same rational-legal framework, this paper shows how the cognitive dimension of social capital influences the level of entrepreneurship in three municipalities. The importance of bridging networks is also highlighted. Practical implications - An open channel of communication between politicians and entrepreneurs allows the former to gain legitimacy in the eyes of the latter. By widening the network, more actors are involved in local and regional development, thereby raising the level of competence and resources. Originality/value - Using three different sets of data, this paper offers a deeper understanding into the complex nature of bridging networks between politics and business.

Suggested Citation

  • Björn Berggren & Lars Silver, 2009. "The effect of bridging networks on entrepreneurial activity: The rational-legal framework and embeddedness in local social capital networks," Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(2), pages 125-137, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:jecpps:v:3:y:2009:i:2:p:125-137

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